13 Sep 2017 17:20pm
OSHAKATI, 13 SEP (NAMPA) - The Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) on Wednesday signed a one-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) and German development agency (GIZ) to support de-bushing and bush utilisation initiatives.
A media release by Agribank on Wednesday said the MoU covers product and finance development aimed at scaling-up projects in bush control and biomass utilisation, among other areas.
Agribank Chief Executive Officer, Sakaria Nghikembua was quoted as saying the MoU demonstrates Agribanks resolve to play a meaningful role in the socio-economic transformation and development of Namibia.
We continuously strive to innovate ways and means to ensure that our products and services become more accessible to all Namibians in order to contribute to the development of agriculture in this country, said Nghikembua.
He said bush encroachment had proven to be a problem in many parts of the country and Agribank believed that through this agreement, more farmers and entrepreneurs would have access to financing and advisory services to turn the challenge into value addition opportunities.
Nghikembua added that the knowledge of opportunities created through biomass utilisation is crucial for the industry to flourish.
The MAWF/GIZ support to the de-bushing project was established through a bilateral cooperation agreement between the German and Namibian governments in partnership with the ministry to develop, improve and implement strategies on sustainable bush control.
GIZ Project Team Leader, Frank Gschwender emphasised that there is great potential for a diversified industry based on Namibian encroacher bush.
According to Gschwender, the scope of bush encroachment is estimated at more than 30 million hectares of land amounting to between 200 million and 300 million tonnes of biomass, providing Namibia with a sheer unlimited resource which is in high demand globally.
The support to the de-bushing project aims at creating a national framework for bush control, which comprises three inter-related objectives including supporting farmers, wood harvesting and processing industries through the establishment of a De-bushing Advisory Service.